Seattle Mayor Ed Murray was sued on Thursday by a 46-year-old man who accused him of groping and molesting him when he was 15-years-old.
The lawsuit in King County Superior Court, filed under the man’s initials, “D.H.,” alleges Murray sexually abused the crack-cocaine addicted teen on numerous occasions for payments of $10 to $20.
“I have been dealing with this for over 30 years,” the man, now sober for a year, said in an interview with The Seattle Times. He said he was coming forward as part of a “healing process” after years of “the shame, the embarrassment, the guilt, the humiliation that I put myself through and that he put me through.”
Murray, the city’s first openly gay mayor, is running for reelection. His personal spokesman Jeff Reading released a statement in response to the lawsuit:
“These false accusations are intended to damage a prominent elected official who has been a defender of vulnerable populations for decades. It is not a coincidence that this shakedown effort comes within weeks of the campaign filing deadline. These unsubstantiated assertions, dating back three decades, are categorically false. Mayor Murray has never engaged in an inappropriate relationship with any minor. … Mayor Murray will vigorously fight these allegations in court.”
Murray’s attorney Bob Sulkin also held a press conference:
Said Sulkin: “Unfortunately, defending these types of lawsuits is now the cost of being a public figure… The allegations are false. He has not engaged in any inappropriate conduct with a minor, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these allegations have occurred in the midst of a mayoral campaign… At the end of the day, we’re going to defend this lawsuit vigorously, the mayor is going to do his job for the city of Seattle, and this accuser is going to have to explain himself.”
The Seattle Times notes that 10 years ago two other men came forward to accuse Murray of sexual abuse, and all three accusers “have substantial criminal records.”